“It’s been a long road to get here,” said Julie Chen at the start of the premiere episode of CBS’s new live chat show for moms, The Talk. Starring Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur, The Talk is clearly trying to bite audience from The View – especially young stay-at-home moms.
Here are my reactions to the first episode in real time:
2:04: Holly cries. “Why? Because I have a job.” Poignant truth from a black woman in Hollywood. Leah is petrified, saying she’s used to being able to blame the writers for anything that goes wrong. Now, she says, “If people hate me, they hate me.” Julie cracks a joke about being zen because she’s Asian. Funny and self-aware. So far, so good!
2:06: Julie reveals the show was Sara’s idea, and the audience responds with cheers. Sara says her experience with a second-time moms group led to the birth of the show. She very casually referenced her wife, Allison Adler. Cool that Sara’s an out mom but the show doesn’t feel they have to make a huge deal about it.
2:09: Leah talks about her Twitter imposter, suggesting Julie has one as well. Julie’s response: “Chen is like Smith in the Chinese phonebook.”
The ladies seem relaxed so far, but we haven’t heard from Marissa or Sharon yet. In fact – Marissa hasn’t even appeared. But the studio is warm and cozy and the gals all look lovely.
2:14: Good luck message to Sharon from Kelly Osbourne. Sharon talks about Ozzy, who’s on tour – looks like he’s still big in Japan. Jack Osbourne is a cop? I had no idea. Holly’s four kids made an adorable good luck video, her youngest son saying, “I love you for the rest of the day!” Sara’s kids are insanely cute, her daughter parroting her older brother. Fun fact from Sara: Roseanne premiered on October 18th as well, running for nine years. The gals hope their show will have such a long life. Leah’s daughter Sophia, 6, greeted her in a video Leah had to film herself. (Don’t Scientologists have 24/7 access to camera crews?) Julie’s son, Charlie, is only a year old and doesn’t speak, so her husband, CBS exec Les Moonves gave her a warm welcome, saying, “If your show doesn’t work, I’ll cancel you.” Aww, ain’t love grand?
2:23: The ever-beautiful Christie Brinkley appears as the show’s first guest. NEWS FLASH: even models wear Spanx! Brinkley is very candid about her personal habits, revealing that she tried Botox around her 50th birthday. (50! She’s 50?!) Brinkley says she’s a life-long vegetarian (as is Sara Gilbert) and is promoting organic foods. “If we all go organic, the prices will go down.” (Tell that to the concierge at Whole Foods.) Now she’s doing wild squats, talking about how women can work out even while drying their hair. Did you know you can do leg lifts while brushing your teeth? (That is, if you don’t go to bed so drunk you forget to brush your teeth. Ahem.)
Thus far, the show seems a bit rushed, and the women appear not to have a real agenda in their discussion. The hosts will of course come in to their own over time, and the show will no doubt find its voice. (Even the great Stephen Colbert floundered in the first few episodes of The Colbert Report, the show I would argue is the best on TV.)
2:34: And we’re back from commersh! Brinkley reportedly walked out of divorce court after leaving her ex, shouting, “Google divorcing a narcissist.” Now that’s something I can relate to! Her thoughts on the subject? “The courts really do need to catch up with what’s happening in our country right now…. The courts are sometimes exploited by narcissists – if the courts diagnose somebody as such, there should be a ramification that takes place.” I couldn’t agree more and would love to get into this subject deeper, but! Just when Julie asks about Brinkley wanting to affect changes in divorce laws, Sharon switches the subject to cyberbullying. Brinkley defends her daughter against those who have criticized Alexa’s looks. “I don’t care how thick your skin has become from being in showbiz or whatever, it hurts,” she said, adding, “You can criticise me, but not my children.”
Oh look, an Oprah moment! Everyone is getting a copy of “Notice Me” by Alexa Ray Joel, who is currently promoting Prell shampoo like her mother before her. Now Brinkley is talking about the “ugly blogosphere” and shouting-out her Facebook friends, who she refers to as “her gardenias,” who “sew seeds of kindness, compassion, mutual respect and support for all people.” Damn, those are some good Facebook friends!
Now listen, I’m not big into snark, and I agree those who’ve made fun of Alexa Joel in the past for her “exotic” (as Sharon called it) look are mean-spirited and out of line. But does that mean I should feel bad for calling Remini out on her Scientology? I mean, come on. She’s adorable and she seems like a cool person, but I just can’t look at her without thinking about body thetans. Remini has spoken out against critics of her church, saying, “If somebody is going to get turned off about something because of what they read or heard, then that person’s not smart enough to even enter a church. If you’re really against something, then know what you’re against.” I know what I’m against. BODY THETANS! But anyway, we’re back…
2:43: The adorable Marissa Jaret Winokur, talking to Dr. Jenn Berman about when and how to talk to kids about sex. Dr. Lori Buckley tells Marissa to be sure to identify her “vulva,” and Marissa responded with a lively rendition of “head, shoulders, vulva, toes, vulva, toes!” Hahaha – finally, this show has come to life. Her man-on-the-street interview segment continues, and “regular people” advise her that age 2 is too young to have “the talk” (oooh, punny!) with your kids. Marissa ends her segment by telling her son Zev, “I love you. We’re not gonna talk about anything else today.” Another relatable moment. I’m always worried about crossing the fine line between being “normal” and informative about body parts (vagina vagina vagina) but not getting into sexual subjects I don’t need to with my daughter. The other day, I said the park looked “romantic,” and when she asked me what romantic meant, I said, “beautiful.” I don’t need her to know falling leaves make me want to get bizzy. (You guys, on the other hand, are welcome to that info. Especially if you’re male and single.)
2:50: The Talk poll reveals most parents think 10 and above is the best age to talk to kids about the birds and the bees. Holly says she’s all for using penis and vagina, instead of “mee-mee and poo-poo.” Leah talks to her daughter Sophia about her “cupcake.” Oy. Julie is smart to question the use of food in reference to the vagina, with Marissa adding, “Yeah, that makes it sound yummy.” Then again, Marissa refers to her hoo-ha using a whistling sound.
Holly: “Maybe when they’re 5 or 6 if you see two dogs humping, maybe you should just keep it real. If you don’t say anything, they’re gonna find out some other way.” Truth. I like her.
Julie advocates allowing schools to teach sex ed in 5th or 6th grade, “and then if they come home with questions, you answer them.” Sure, but you should mention something about reproduction to kids before then, no? My daughter is only 5, but we’ve talked about the fact that babies grow inside of a Mommy and that breasts are for breastfeeding. (Thank God she hasn’t asked how the baby gets there, because that I wouldn’t be able to answer. I’d probably just whistle like Marissa and walk away.)
2:58: Sharon ends the show by saying, “Now that we’ve all been polite and nice, maybe tomorrow we’ll be different.” That’s sort of a perfect comment to re-cap the tone of the first episode. It was nice, but I’m by no means hooked. Marissa stole the show, I want to hear more from Holly who seems great, Julie was smart and measured as the lead host. But Sharon didn’t let her hilariously huge and wonderfully ridiculous personality out, and oddly, Sara, who started it all, hardly said a word. Leah seems so down-to-Earth and funny. If I watched the show enough, maybe I could get past the thetan thing. Maybe.